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The Sindarin suffixed article: agreement in number

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  • Minas Tsulis
    Since the following assertion cannot be yet proved (at least, by myself) using linguistic epicheirema as it is solely based on The History of Middle-earth ,
    Message 1 of 2 , Jun 24, 2004
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      Since the following assertion cannot be yet proved (at least, by
      myself) using linguistic epicheirema as it is solely based on
      "The History of Middle-earth", it shall be posed as a question.

      Having dealt with the Sindarin article in the forms _i_ and _in_
      describing the singular and the plural accordingly, one might
      stumble upon the justifiable question: �Why, when the article in
      the suffixed forms _-n_ and _-in_ can represent both numbers,
      does the independent article have a clearly different form? And if
      it does stand for both numbers, why bother with a different form
      in the first place?�

      The only published example in which we are presented with such
      a case, is of course the 3rd version of the �King�s Letter� (IX:129, 131)
      in the phrases _erin dolothen Ethuil_ and _uin Echuir_ in particular,
      in which _-in_ clearly denotes the singular. Though in another attested
      case, in the phrase _Dagor-nuin-Giliath_ (Sil, ch 13), we have the
      preposition _nu_ (or _no_) becoming _nuin_. In this occasion of the
      use of the suffixed article, _-in_ functions as analogue to the
      independent article _in_.

      Could what we are dealing with in the �King�s Letter� be another
      idiom of the Gondorian dialect of Sindarin? A loose (Historical)
      epicheirema could be that Aragorn might well consort with the
      pure elvish dialect in his everyday life, but since his crowning,
      he would more likely use Gondorian Sindarin, especially in an
      official document as the above. There would be no reason to use
      formal Sindarin, since if he wanted to further formalize the document,
      he would use Quenya. Furthermore, the King�s Letter seems to be written
      in Gondorian Sindarin, since the author uses the Sindarin names for
      seasons, used only by the D�nedain and thus in their own dialect of
      Sindarin, ergo the official language of Gondor.

      Are there any real points (besides "The History of Middle-earth") to
      make the above stand as a possibility?

      Thank you,

      Minas Tsulis

      _________________________________________________________________
    • Helios De Rosario Martinez
      ... A nearly identical question is explicitly answered in detail by Tolkien himself, at the beginning of the Gnomish Grammar, recently reprinted in _Parma
      Message 2 of 2 , Jun 25, 2004
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        Minas Tsulis wrote:

        > “Why, when the article in
        > the suffixed forms _-n_ and _-in_ can represent both numbers,
        > does the independent article have a clearly different form? And if
        > it does stand for both numbers, why bother with a different form
        > in the first place?”

        A nearly identical question is explicitly answered in detail by
        Tolkien himself, at the beginning of the Gnomish Grammar, recently
        reprinted in _Parma Eldalamberon_ #11. The first section, with the
        title "The article", says:

        "root _î_. This gave in the plural either _î_ or _în_ and in the
        genitive _în_, but ... _în-_ also developed in other cases_." (PE11:7;
        the circumflex representing a macron).

        Summarizing, there it is explained that the article _în_, though it
        originally had a grammatical function (it was the plural or genitive
        form of _î_), had in the "present usage" of Gnomish or Goldogrin a
        phonological function instead (it was chiefly prevocalic).

        Of course there may be significant differences between the Goldogrin
        and the later Sindarin article system; for instance, the Goldogrin
        genitive singular article was _na(n)_ according to the same Grammar,
        while a quick search in the Index of _The Silmarillion_ shows many
        Sindarin names where that article is _en_ instead: _Bar-en-Danwedh_,
        _Cabed-en-Aras_, _Haudh-en-Arwen_, _Haudh-en-Elleth_,
        _Haudh-en-Ndengin_, _Haudh-en-Nirnaeth_, or _Taur-en-Faroth_.
        Nevertheless, I find no evidence by which we should think that the
        duality of the Goldogrin nominative article _i_/_in_ was essentially
        different in Sindarin.

        Helios
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